• June 5, 2020

Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities —this includes the right to good health. Yet today, there are inequities in health that are avoidable, unnecessary and unjust.

At Whittier Street Health Center, we have a long and successful history of serving as a beacon of hope and champion for health equity in the communities we serve. Health care as a social-justice issue is at the root of our innovative, culturally sensitive and high quality health care and social services.

92% of our patients are low-income, and approximately 36% of them have no medical insurance. Community health centers like Whittier have been plugging health-care gaps for many decades, addressing social justice and health disparities.

We believe that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities – this includes the right to good health and wellbeing.

In the very early stages of the pandemic, based on our experience working to address health disparities, we anticipated that the virus would have a negative impact on the low-income and minority communities served. In early April 2020, we launched two onsite COVID-19 testing clinics to provide free testing at our main site on 1290 Tremont Street, for all who meet the requirements. In partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission and with the support of several generous donors, we have expanded access to COVID-19 diagnostic testing to include community testing of individuals who are symptomatic and asymptomatic, meeting them where they are and using our Mobile Health Van.

Starting on June 1st, 2020, our dedicated Mobile Health Van team of nurses and providers are traveling to different locations daily to provide access to testing at public housing developments, faith-based institutions, supermarket parking lots, community centers and locations designated as hotspots by the city health department. In addition to providing access to COVID-19 testing, the health van team will educate, empower and engage patients so they are activated to maintain healthy behaviors. At a time when our country is experiencing many challenges including the coronavirus pandemic and recent unrest caused by long-standing issues of racism, social and economic inequities, it is important that we continue to maintain a laser focus on our mission to promote wellness and prevention and address health disparities and social inequities. We are optimistic that the recent events, though devastating to the communities serve, will bring the much needed changes in policies, programs and practices that will positive impact and enrich the lives of all!

In addition to the high rates of illnesses and poverty in the communities served, we are serving a growing number of patients struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. We are able to fill these gaps and proactively address the issues with innovative programming due in part to the generous support of our donors. We are grateful to our donors and friends for supporting our bold vision to create health equity for all!

Warm regards, Frederica M. Williams

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).